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Homeschool Chinese: Scavenger Hunt

As homeschoolers, we have a flexible schedule.  We thereby take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.  Earlier this year, we were able to accompany the kids’ dad when he had a business trip to San Francisco.  While Dad was engaged in a meeting, we kept ourselves busy exploring Chinatown.  Knowing of our trip in advance, Teacher Shawn / Lǎoshī 老师 even put together a Chinatown Scavenger Hunt that he assigned as homework.

Chinatown Scavenger Hunt

Advanced: Please choose at least seven activities to do. (Some of them are must-dos, and some of them are optional.)

Beginner: Please choose three activities from the optional tasks. (You don’t need to do the must-dos.)


  1. Please take a picture of a local SF person and use at least 30 words to describe him/her.
  2. Find an opportunity to talk to a Chinese-looking person, ask him/her any questions you feel comfortable with. For example, 你是哪里人?你是中国人吗?  or other questions.
  3. This is a picture of a lotus flower. Isn’t it beautiful? But guess what? The root of the lotus looks different, it is called 莲藕 (Lián’ǒu) lotus root. Find lotus root in a market and take a picture with you the two of you in it.

    Lotus Flower. CC image by Ryan Somma.

    We found Lotus Root!!

  4. Write a short story/diary of your trip to San Francisco. You may focus on the Chinatown or other places. About 40 words. If you need help, use your dictionary. Remember not to give up. :-)



  1. Please describe the weather for San Francisco on Friday or Saturday.
  2. Take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge with you in it and look for the Chinese word for the name of the bridge.
  3. Find Pitaya in any market from Chinatown and take a picture of it, and find the Chinese name for it.  If your heart desires it, try it, it tastes really good. :)
  4. How do you eat it?

  5. Take a picture of you @ Chinatown with lanterns behind you.
  6. Visit a Chinese restaurant and try one thing you might like, and write down the name of the dish/food in Chinese and English.
  7. Find out the meaning of ABC and the differences between ABC and Chinese people from China.

We arrived early in the morning and were delighted to experience a cultural difference first hand.  In China, when people greet one another in the early morning, rather than say, “Hello, How are you?”  they instead will say, “Nǐ hǎo, Nǐ mǎile nǐ de shūcài? / 你好,你买了你的蔬菜?”   Which roughly translates to, “Have you bought your vegetables today?”  The markets were crowded with people … we had not experienced this on other visits to Chinatown when we typically arrived in the afternoon or early evening.

Early Morning Shoppers in Chinatown

This was not our first visit to Chinatown, so the kids and I knew our way around fairly well.   After completing the Scavenger Hunt, we spent an hour or so relaxing in a small park and allowing JieJie to burn off a little energy on the play structures we found tucked away.  We spent nearly 6 hours in Chinatown, but the day passed very quickly.


Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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